There’s something about a red Smeg Fab refrigerator. See?
The ‘50s style Smeg Fab refrigerator (Fab28 to be precise), is the GPS for this distinctly Euro-look unfitted kitchen. Here, the refrigerator stands alone — not built in and completely portable. Yet the choice of a lipstick red appliance sets the style for this modern cottage kitchen, a look that has emigrated from Europe to the U.S.
Smeg is an Italian brand known throughout Europe for its retro look and pop colors. It’s not the largest refrigerator on the market and it doesn’t have many of the drawers, dispensers and whizzy things Americans expect. It’s a basic, modestly priced and appointed yet by virtue of the design it’s a showstopping kitchen feature.
Smeg also produce a highly designed modern line of appliances including wall ovens and ranges that were used in the Swedish Loft Kitchen. An older, Euro-size, 70-cm wall oven set below the cooktop — the ultimate space-saving move. With a wall oven-cooktop set up, clearance is required both for the oven and the cooktop. A panel (or perhaps a cut-down utensil drawer) is installed to create the space between them. That means the oven always will be low. But because there is no vent hood in the kitchen — an expensive installation given the exceptionally high ceiling — this is a practical approach although it one with proponents and detractors. The Oven-in-Island Kitchen also shows a wall oven similarly installed but in the end a base cabine
This kitchen also has a unique approach to the Miele dishwasher. Usually, the dishwasher hugs a sink, either on the left or the right side. Here, it’s at the apex of the work triangle — between the cooktop/oven and sink — and requires a pivot to the left, perhaps one step and leaning over to load it with the door open. While it’s most unusual to see a dishwasher with this placement, I can understand it: storage advantage. The farm sink has a small drawer and base cabinet to the left. In the corner, adjacent to the dishwasher, is one of those clever open lower cabinets that are a European signature and are rarely seen in American kitchens. If the dishwasher had been next to the sink the corner would be a problem.
If you ask me to describe the style of this kitchen I wouldn’t say retro. I would say modern cottage. With no upper cabinets in the kitchen, and no back splash, it is open shelving that offers yards of storage for small everyday items. Task lighting hidden under the lower shelf provides good illumination for the cook. Swagged industrial pendants and the 1950s tablecloth nods to vintage oilcloth and aprons you see mostly in movies nowadays. The tablecloth also picks up the pale, blue-gray cabinet color that is so neutral it’s just there. Yet the pop of color from the fridge, and uncluttered freshness of a modern yet informal kitchen, show how flexible and smart a modest kitchen design can be.
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